Judge Rejects Trump Effort To Toss Lawsuits Accusing Him Of Jan. 6 Conspiracy

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A federal judge has rejected former President Donald Trump’s effort to dismiss multiple lawsuits accusing him of bearing legal responsibility for the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

In a 112-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said the evidence suggests Trump assembled the crowd and then instructed the rally-goers to march on the Capitol, despite knowing that the crowd likely included violent and destructive elements.

And Trump’s Twitter attack amid the violence on then-Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the counting of electoral votes that would finalize President Joe Biden’s victory, suggests a “tacit agreement” with those who stormed the Capitol and sent Pence and lawmakers fleeing for safety, Mehta wrote.

“It is reasonable to infer that the President would have understood the impact of his tweet, since he had told rally-goers earlier that, in effect, the Vice President was the last line of defense against a stolen election outcome,” ruled Mehta, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.

The ruling leaves Trump’s inner circle — and possibly the president himself — vulnerable to another flurry of deposition subpoenas and document demands.

The lawsuits against Trump were brought by a dozen Democratic members of Congress and multiple Capitol Police officers injured in the violence. They accused Trump of joining in a civil conspiracy with groups, like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, who shared Trump’s goal of disrupting the transfer of power to Biden.

Mehta emphasized that Trump’s rally speech could be seen as legally amounting to making common cause with those seeking to violently disrupt the Jan. 6 session of Congress, the last step to officially certifying Biden’s victory.

“[T]he President’s January 6 Rally Speech can reasonably be viewed as a call for collective action,” Mehta wrote. “The President’s regular use of the word ‘we’ is notable. To name just a few examples: ‘We will not take it anymore’; ‘We will stop the steal’; ‘We will never give up’; ‘We will never concede’; ‘We will not take it anymore’; ‘All Mike Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president.’”